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Besombes, Philippe: Libra (Reissue)

Not long after trained chemist and aspiring electronic musician Philippe Besombes befriended future global synth-superstar Jean-Michel Jarre in the early '70s, the former's reputation would similarly enjoy some prestige by way of an experimental film called Libra. The concoction of an entity self-dubbed The Pattern Group, the scoring gig was offered to a twentysomething Besombes, the catch being that enough music had to be supplied for the film's entire ninety-minute duration, seeing as how Libra was wholly devoid of dialogue and sound effects! Composing and recording the soundtrack and teetering on the budget's threshold with a deadline looming was no small feat, and the kaleidoscopic results have yielded a cult following for film and score alike. With electric guitars, bass, drums, and organ allied with electronics, Besombes' sonorous maelstrom betrays a skeletal framework of rock, psych and jazz rhythms, overlaid with blues, folk, country, funk and even musique concrete.

Relying on his custom-built modular synthesizers ("Theme Grave" is one of the earliest electronic dirges), Besombes' unearthly timbres cast towering shadows over drums, guitar and organ. On synth-free pieces like "Raggacountry" and "Boogimmick," the vibe set by the former's lilting acoustic guitar is rattled to the core by an extreme segue into the acid rock of the latter, filter-manipulated elec-tones spat out like freed confetti — think Space Ritual Hawkwind. Flanged drums, melodic bass and sine textures on "Hache 06" suggest Goblin before that band's inception. Tape-manipulation, swells and moans pepper the nightmarish "La Ville." Angular pitches are elongated and filterswept in the icy wastes of "Les Cosmonautes," while manic organ confronts the pleading of a young woman on "Avecandista." The only track to feature an honest-to-God vocal is the song "Tis A Song," with a performance by Francoise LeGros.

Now-defunct MIO Records' reissue (the first of three Besombes recordings) adds four bonus tracks of varying import. The free-love jitter of "Chocolate Cream" would be at home on any old school porno by way of its liberal tom tom fills, wah-guitar wanking and sirenic vocals. "Orgue Hache 06" is all of a single sustained organ chord (!), while "Tamota Pie Pie" rules the roost with a rubbery synth lead, blips and bloops, and bluesy guitar. The title of "Piano Prepare" should reveal that track's nature.

Besombes' succeeding works would be arguably superior, but his score for Libra should be ranked as no less than a milestone in filmscore.


1. La Plage (2:51)
2. Rugby (1:54)
3. Theme Grave (1:58)
4. Ballade En Vélo (2:14)
5. Les Diapos (2:04)
6. Cérémonie (3:19)
7. Jaune (1:51)
8. PJF 261 (3:19)
9. Raggacountry (3:12)
10. Boogimmick (2:03)
11. Hache 06 (4:47
12. Appel De Libra (1:10)
13. Poursuite (1:18)
14. La Ville (4:32)
15. Les Cosmonautes (2:12)
16. Avécandista (6:00)
17. Tis a Song (2:35)

Bonus Tracks:

18. Chocolate Cream (2:25)
19. Orgue Hache 06 (00:17)
20. Tamota Pie Pie (2:32)
21. Piano Prepare (2:25)

Total time – 75:44

Added: February 15th 2007
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Hits: 2353
Language: english

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